I received the recipe as part of a fat loss program I was doing once upon a time, so it's also quite healthy. You can adjust as you like -- obviously full fat cheeses and/or sauce and such make a difference to taste and texture. I also play with the amounts of sauce and mozza, as I like my pasta very saucy and cheesy (just like me!). Of course, this has an impact on the calorie count. *sheepish grin*
The recipe is as follows:
1 box manicotti shells
1 15 oz container low-fat ricotta cheese
Whites of two large eggs
1 cup drained thawed frozen spinach or 2 cups fresh, chopped
1 cup grated peeled carrot
1 small onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
3 cups marinara sauce (I tend to cheat and use store bought, my favourite is Healthy Choice 'Garlic Lovers', or if there is a container of Serdic's spaghetti sauce in the freezer we'll use that)
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook the shells for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and put them in a bowl of room temperature water. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the ricotta with the egg whites, spinach, carrot, onion, basil and thyme.
3. In a 9x14 baking dish, place about 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce, enough to cover the bottom. Drain the manicotti shells. Stuff each shell with the filling and place in the baking dish. Spoon over the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes, until the shells are fully cooked and the sauce is bubbling.
4. Remove the pan from the oven and uncover. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella and return to the oven for 10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and slightly golden. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 14 shells. A serving is 2 shells. 320 calories; 10 g. fat; 41 g. carbohydrates; 18 g. protein; 4 g. fibre.